In late March, President Trump did Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a solid by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the strategically valuable Golan Heights, an area the state has occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967. By acknowledging Israeli authority in the contentious region annexed from Syria, critics claim that Trump effectively campaigned for Netanyahu in the April 9 election, helping the prime minister secure support on the nation’s right after the Israeli attorney general announced in February that he intended to indict Netanyahu on bribery and corruption charges.
Netanyahu — aware that, for Trump, seeing his name on a residential complex is one of the great joys in life — announced on Tuesday that he intended to pay him back for his support by requesting that a new Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights be named after the American president. “All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said in a video recorded during a Passover visit to the region with his family. “Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump.”
Currently, around 50,000 people live in the area: Jewish settlers are about half of that, with Druze Arabs with Syrian roots making up the rest of the population. As the New York Times notes, over 30 Jewish settlements have been built in the Golan Heights since the ’67 war. Israel intends to settle the region heavily in the next few decades: By 2048, the state intends to build housing that would accommodate 250,000 Israelis.
Within this new occupation boom, if Netanyahu’s government accepts his proposal, some Israeli settlers will live in buildings where the gilded Trump name adorns their residential complexes. Of course, if Netanyahu really wants to honor the American president, he could construct the Trump Golan settlements in the style of the Queens real-estate magnate — by building them poorly, ripping off contractors, or excluding minorities from living in them.